The pass rush is improved. JJ McCarthy gave props to Derrick Moore, Braiden McGregor, Josaiah Stewart, and Jaylen Harrell for bringing pressure. What’s even more impressive is that the interior of the line is likely better than the exterior.
Zak Zinter, likely Michigan’s most talented offensive lineman, talked about his struggles guarding the interior linemen, namely Kris Jenkins. Jenkins is primed for a huge season and is already receiving first-round projections from some outlets. Mason Graham, Rayshaun Benny, and Kenneth Grant are also going to be problems on the interior.
You can expect Michigan to do a great job of stuffing the run and rushing the quarterback. While they struggled to apply pressure a season ago, the story appears much different this season.
At linebacker, transfer Ernest Hausmann looks special. There is a lot of hype that he may be the most talented linebacker on the roster. That’s including potential All-American Junior Colson. While Michael Barrett is the incumbent, he’s being pushed by Hausmann and junior Jayden Hood.
Sophomore Jimmy Rolder appears to have made a leap as well. At a position that Michigan football was so thin at in 2022, linebacker appears to be a big strength for this team in 2023. Junior Colson is a leader of the defense and is entering his third season as a starter. Ernest Hausmann has all the physical and mental tools to be an All-American. Michael Barrett is back for his sixth season. And Jimmy Rolder, who looked good in 2022 as a freshman, is a year older.
At corner, there hasn’t been a whole lot of buzz. Amorion Walker is beginning to come into his own, but he’s still incredibly raw. Right now, the best bet is that UMass transfer Josh Wallace will be starting opposite of Will Johnson come September 2nd. The hope is, however, that Walker will take the spot by the end of the season.
That’s not a knock on Wallace at all. It’s praise towards Walker’s insane physical attributes. Walker clocked a 6.10-second three-cone drill. That would be .18 seconds faster than the fastest recorded time at the NFL Combine ever. If Walker can slow down the game and really understand the fundamentals, he can be a first-round pick.
In short, the sky is the limit for Walker, so the hope is that he approaches his potential as the season progresses.
All in all, the Wolverines are in a tremendous spot heading into the 2023 season. The offense should by all metrics be the best that Jim Harbaugh has had. The defense may be the best he’s had as well.
This team will be the best Michigan has had arguably since winning the championship in 1997. Every starter on this team could legitimately be drafted, and I don’t think anybody would be surprised.
Keep an eye out for buzz that develops as Fall camp continues. As always, Go Blue!